Thursday, 28 July 2016

I Tick A Box

I was have been asked by  to rate my recent experience of New York City.  Apparently, this will help other people to decide whether or not to travel there:  Did you like NYC?  Please tick Yes or No.

In my day job, I am often asked to write references.  This is a responsibility I take seriously, and it requires me to use my judgement and to be truthful to my experience.  But when asked to do this by ticking a series of boxes, I find myself flummoxed. 

Consider the following example:

Please assess (to the best of your knowledge) the applicant’s qualities and abilities :






Not Known/Comments








Faced with recommending a candidate I've known for a couple of years, but only in one context, I don't know which box to tick. Is Excellent Honesty the default position, or starting point, from which someone can only slide towards Poor as occasions for Dishonesty arise, or do I assume Poor Honesty until opportunities for deception have arisen and not been taken, or opportunities for Honesty been taken?

What, I wonder, is the definition of Good Honesty and could it be better than Excellent Honesty (too brutal in some situations) for this particular job?   Is my definition of Good Honesty of too high or low a standard?  Who says?

Is Average Honesty acceptable or the sign of moral deficiency?  And when working out Average Honesty, am I required to use the mean, mode or median?  And should I show my workings?

Does Honesty which could be described as  Poor become Dishonesty?  Unreliability can't be a synonym for Poor Honesty as there is another assessment to be made about Reliability in the row below.  But I won't take you there.

As it happens, I liked New York City.  Yes I did.  I liked it a lot.  And I mostly liked it because I went there with my son.  But there's no box for that.

1 comment:

  1. I think honesty is a pregnancy judgement (you are or your aren't). they never quite fit, these questionaires, and at some point you throw up your arms and say 'WTF'.